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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 30, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: USF Sun Dome (10,411) -- Tampa, Florida. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: UGA 2-2, USF 3-2. Away Record: UGA 0-0, USF 1-0. Neutral Record: UGA 0-2, USF 0-0. Conference Record: UGA 0-0, USF 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The South Florida Bulls play host to the Georgia Bulldogs on Friday night as part of the SEC/Big East Challenge.
Georgia was able to win its season opener at home over Jacksonville, 68-62, but from there it entered the Progressive Legends Classic and lost all four of its bouts in the tournament. The Bulldogs were able to bounce back in their latest game however, defeating East Tennessee State at home on Nov. 23, 54-38.
The Bulls opened their season going 3-2 in five straight games at home, including in their very own tournament, the USF Invitational. They went on the road for the first time on Monday, making a short trip from Tampa to DeLand, Florida to play Stetson, coming away with a 63-54 win.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two schools in men's basketball.
Georgia has gotten off to an ice-cold start to the season, as it is shooting just 39.9 percent from the floor and it hasn't scored more than 60 points in a game since the opener. The Bulldogs put forth another sub par effort against ETSU with 54 points, but surprisingly they shot a lofty 63.2 percent from the field, although they had just one attempt from the free throw line. The defensive effort made the difference in the win, as they held the Buccaneers to just 14-of-50 accuracy on their field goal attempts. Kentavious Caldwell- Pope finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Donte' Williams added 12 points and three blocked shots. Caldwell-Pope has been the only player of note so far for the Bulldogs at the offensive end of the floor, as he leads the team with 17.3 ppg and 6.5 rpg, although he is shooting less than 37 percent from the field. No other Georgia player averages double figures in points, but Williams (7.3 ppg) has made greater than 72 percent of his field goal attempts in the four games he has played.
USF's offensive output hasn't been electric, but it has been more effective the Georgia's, scoring 66.7 ppg on nearly 44 percent from the field, and paired with a sound scoring defense (59.7 ppg) and positive rebounding (plus-0.3) and turnover (plus-1.5) margins, it's able to sport a winning record six games into the season. The Bulls were able to win their last time out despite a lackluster effort from three-point range (5-of-20) thanks to a pair of outstanding performances from Toarlyn Fitzpatrick and Jawanza Poland. Fitzpatrick, who is the team's leading scorer with 13.0 ppg, tallied 20 points and nine rebounds, while Poland came off the bench to notch a double-double consisting of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Poland has split his time between the starting lineup and the second unit, and it has resulted in 11.0 ppg and 4.7 rpg. Victor Rudd (7.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg) has been a solid presence for the Bulls in the frontcourt, but he is shooting just 34 percent from the field.
Neither team has been able to put up points in bunches, so a low-scoring affair should be expected. A slower tempo plays to USF's strength, as its brand of lock-down defense will eat up the sporadic Georgia scorers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Florida 62, Georgia 54
11/30 10:32:53 ET